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The Advent of A.I. Doesn’t Have to Mean the Death of Labor

Last September, tech’s biggest names trekked to Capitol Hill for a forum on artificial intelligence. In a meeting closed to journalists, executives briefed nearly two-thirds of the Senate on the future of A.I. A few respected labor and civic leaders were present, but the tech titans dominated the headlines.

There’s an assumption in Silicon Valley that the first trillionaire may well be an A.I. entrepreneur, so tech leaders were eager to share their thoughts on some rules of the road. They warned of killer robots and the “Terminator” scenario, of misinformation and fake videos but gave short shrift to broader issues of economic fairness and wealth disparity that are of more urgent concern to most Americans.

Watching Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Sam Altman lead a confab on the ethical principles and regulations that should guide A.I. development was reminiscent of Davos conferences in the 1990s and early 2000s.

You remember the story that those Davos conferences broadcast to the world: Everyone will be able to get a knowledge job. Consumer goods will become cheaper. Globalization coupled with the internet will lead to prosperity for everyone.

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